Jean-Georges lunch b'day review
This is a food review for Jean-Georges prix fixe lunch menu for a birthday celebration with a friend. This will be solely my opinions based on my food choices.
I went to Jean-Georges to celebrate my birthday. I've been to Jean-Georges many times for lunch; I find it to be the nicest place for lunch in the City. I am pretty familiar with the prix fixe menu, and was able to easily navigate through my favourite choices.
I decided to stick with some old favourites, however also try the newest dish on the list, the Roasted Beef Tenderloin and crunchy potatoes, tomato comote with chilies and garlic.
I asked to speak to the sommelier to help pick a bottle of red wine to go with the meal for my friend, Florian, and myself. He recommended a fine Bordeaux, but then nostalgia came over me and I decided to flip through the many pages of the wine list to find the bottles from Provence. Provence was were I lived in France - the place where I first began to enjoy, appreciate even, the intricacies of wine. In vino veritas. We decided on a classical Provençal meaty wine.
First came a lovely starter dish which is always on the chefs whim and a glass of champagne. I'm not quite sure what it was. Now is a good time to note I'm allergic to all fish and seafood, so it was slightly different than my friend's dish. I forgot to take a photo at the beginning of the dish, but I remembered halfway through...
The second course soon arrive, their original, creative goat cheese gnocchi. The goat cheese was brilliant, very soft when bitten into, and the dressing was just the right tenderness that complemented the cheese well. My one gripe was the sauce was a bit tannic, which did not mix with the wine we picked. Though that's okay, as I wasn't expecting a meaty red from Provence to pair well with goat cheese gnocchi. The champagne was just right for this course.
Soon after, a beautifully done parmesan crusted confit leg of chicken soon became visible. It was gently placed down and I was visibly excited. This is my favourite dish at Jean-Georges, and for good reason. The skin is perfectly fried while the chicken is impossibly moist. The asparagus and lemon butter sauce made for a wonderful after thought. Now the wine was breathing from the decanter, and tasted beautifully with the chicken.
Next came the fourth course, the beef tenderloin. The wine was beginning to open, and was a pleasure to discover it throughout this next course. The potato was amazingly crunchy, and beautifully designed. Unfortunately the tenderloin was overcooked, and even with the spinach, few juices found its way to savor in this course. A true disappointment as the wine was ripe, and would have complimented this dish beautifully.
Finishing the wine, I sat and discussed the day with my friend. We were shown the dessert menu, but as my friend declined dessert, I did also as to not eat alone. We continued talking, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a splash of light. I saw our captain smiling, and bearing a birthday cake. She placed it in front of me, a beautiful strawberry sorbet. I really was taken aback - I did not expect a cake for a lunch sitting; it looked delicious and was a great treat to finish off a wonderful lunch.
I made a wish, blew out the candle, and began enjoying the strawberries. The cake was truly amazing, cheers to the pastry chef! The birthday cake at Per Se paled in comparison.
As I finished the cake, we were brought the usual treats Jean-Georges serves with lunch: the chocolates, the colourful marshmallows, the Luxemburgerli-like truffles. We finished our drinks, and gracefully left after a wonderful meal.
This lunch was amazing. It was great tasting old favourites, and enjoying a beautifully done birthday cake. The lunch was not perfect, however, the beef tenderloin dish left lots to be desired. With everything considered, I give this experience four stars.
I loved your review and totally agree with you about the parmesan crusted chicken. I find I usually order chicken in great restaurants, it is a great yardstick of how the kitchen cooks. We loved the look of the place, so relaxing with its grey banquettes and tall windows. We had a marvelous server - Ewa from Poland - which greatly added to the treat. Love Jean-Georges!!
I don't think that a meal with one problematic dish deserves 4 stars. And actually, both times I had the lunch prix fixe at Jean Georges, it fell considerably short of 4 stars - probably a good 2 1/2-to-3-star meal both times. That said, however, I certainly found it a fair value and a pleasant experience, and will definitely repeat it.
I was rating the entire experience. You're right, if I were just rating the food, it would be a consistent 2.5/3 star affair. But the birthday cake was marvelous, and leaps and bounds over what Per Se offers.
billw44: Sorry I'm late, but just note it in your reservation. In most systems, it will show up each year.
Is anyone else having trouble with the pictures? They should show up...
Great write up! I recently did my birthday lunch at jean georges too, and had a similarly wonderful experience. I share your opinion about the chicken, this was my first time having it there and it was absolutely excellent. I didn't have any equivalent issues to yours with the tenderloin, although I thought the skate itself in the skate/chateau chalon was the weakest link of the meal(though my girlfriend liked her bites of it more than I did). The sauce itself in that dish is terrific though, as many have commented. I haven't looked at all the jean georges lunch posts on CH, but haven't noticed as much praise generally for the chicken as you have given(and I agree with). From my one time ordering it I'd recommend more hounds give this dish a try--I'm going again sometime soon and plan on re-ordering it. They gave me the same lovely birthday treatment you described as well.
Would love to check out the recipe, would be much obliged if you can post it. The birthday cake you got looks different than the one I had---to be honest we had other dessert as well, and with all the other food I'm blanking on exactly what the cake I got was, but I'm pretty sure it didn't involve strawberry, or any sorbet for that matter. We liked the cake, but I think the rhubarb dessert and some of the marshmallows/etc. stood out more to us--perhaps that strawberry one is particularly good. The presentation was the same though, with the happy birthday candy and the single candle.
Here's the recipe:
PARMESAN CRUSTED ORGANIC CHICKEN, SALSIFY, BASIL AND LEMON BUTTER
FOR THE CHICKEN BREAST:
2.5 # CHICKENS, BREAST DEBONED, SKIN REMOVED
SALT/GROUND BLACK PEPPER
REMOVE SKIN AND RESERVE. SEASON THE BREAST WELL WITH SALT AND PUT ON A SIZZLE TRAY. DRIZZLE LIBERALLY WITH OLIVE OIL AND COOK IN THE CVAP FOR ABOUT 8 MINUTES, OR UNTIL JUST COOKED.RESERVE COOKING JUICE AND LET BREAST REST FOR 3 MINUTES.
FOR THE THIGH:
CHICKEN THIGHS BONED OUT, WELL TRIMMED
SALT/GROUND BLACK PEPPER
SEASON WELL WITH SALT AND PEPPER AND LET SIT FOR 1 HOUR IN WALK IN.
HEAT A HOTEL PAN WITH CHICKEN FAT UNTIL IT REACHES 300 DEGRESS. ADD THE CHICKEN THIGHS, COVER WITH 2 PIECES OF FOIL AND COOK IN A 325 OVEN UNTIL CHICKEN IS COMPLETELY TENDER. REMOVE FROM FAT AND ARRANGE CHICKEN ON A SHET TRAY LINED WITH PARCHEMENT SKIN SIDE UP. PUT IN THE WALK IN TO COOL AND LET THE SKIN GET AS DRY AS POSSIBLE.
TO PICK UP THIGH:
PUSH THE THIGH, SKIN SIDE DOWN INTO THE CHEESE MIX AND SAUTE THE THIGH IN GRAPESEED UNTIL GOLDEN CRISPY AND WARM THROUGHOUT. REMOVE FROM THE PAN.
TO PICK UP CHICKEN BREAST:
EGG WHITE WHIPPED FOAMY
DUST SKIN SIDE OF CHICKEN WITH FLOUR THEN DIP IN THE EGG WHITES THEN PRESS INTO THE CHEESE MIX TO FORM A SOLID LAYER. HEAT A PAN WITH GRAPESEED OIL UNTIL SMOKING AND ADD CHICKEN CHEESE SIDE DOWN. COOK ON MEDIUM HEAT UNTIL CRUST IS CARAMELIZED THEN CAREFULLY FREE THE CHICKEN FROM THE PAN. ONCE LOOSE COOK A LITTLE LONGER TO OBTAIN A FULLY GOLDEN CRUST. LET REST 1 MINUTE, THEN SLICE WITH AN EXTREMELY SHARP KNIFE INTO 4 BIAS PIECES, BEING CAREFULY NOT TO DESTROY THE CRUST.
FOR THE CHEESE MIX:
80 G FLOUR
120 G MICROPLANED PARMESAN
50 G PARMESAN SHARDS (WITH PEELER) CUT INTO ¼’ SLIVERS
20 G SALT
FOR THE SALSIFY:
CUT OFF BOTH ENDS OF SALSIFY AND PEEL, THEN TRANSFER TO A HOTEL PAN WITH H2O AND LEMON JUICE (1 QT H2O TO ½ C LEMON JUICE)
400 G SALSIFY
1000 G H2O
15 G SALT
60 G FRESH LEMON JUICE
10 G ROSEMARY
10 G BASIL STEMS
COMBINE ALL IN A RONDEAU AND BRING TO A SIMMER AND COOK GENTLY UNTIL SALSIFY IS TENDER. TRANSFER TO A HOTEL PAN AND COOL IN THE WALK IN. CUT INTO 3’ LONG BATONS (IF SALSIFY IS VERY THICK, CUT IN ½ LENGTHWISE BEFORE CUTTING BATONS).
FOR THE LEMON BUTTER:
150 G FIGI H2O
150 G FRESH LEMON JUICE
10 G SALT
1 G GREEN THAI CHILI MINCED
240 G SOFT BUTTER
COMBINE ALL IN A MEDIUM POT AND HEAT, WHISKING, UNTIL BUTTER IS FULLY MELTED. KEEP WARM. (MAKE JUST BEFORE SERVICE)
TO REHEAT SALSIFY PUT IN A SMALL SAUTE PAN WITH THE LEMON BUTTER AND BRING TO A SIMMER. COOK UNTIL SAUCE CONSISTENCY AND FINISH WITH THE BASIL.
FINISH WITH THE BASIL.
TO SERVE: FOR 1 ORDER
60 G SALSIFY
60 G LEMON BUTTER
1 G FLEUR DE SEL
3 G BASIL CHIFFONADE
1 G BLACK PEPPER MIGNONETTE